Friday, September 20, 2013

Enjoying Motherhood

 I know. 
After my last post I'm sure you never thought something positive would come out of this Negative Nancy. 

It's true that I haven't been the perfect, patient, put-together, loves-every-minute mother that I had hoped to be (Sidenote: I still think I've been a good mother, it has just been different than I pictured). I have postpartum depression and enjoying motherhood hasn't come very naturally. I have had to work at it.... but that's okay because I have learned a lot. There are really lot of things about motherhood I have come to enjoy. I have come a long way. 
I have learned a lot of skills to help me enjoy where I'm at.

Adapt a new standard of clean.
I wait until Ainsley is asleep to put away her toys. As simple as it is, it has eased my stress not worrying about toys strewn throughout the house all day. I am not constantly following after her cleaning up after her. I enjoy her, let her make a mess, and deal with it later.

Take a lot of photos and look at them often.
I LOVE documenting and sharing how dang cute my baby is. Yes, I'm a guilty "overgrammer." It also helps me soooo much to look through photos. When Ainsley is being a stink pot, I look through photos and it reminds me how precious she is. She really is such a sweet little thing, even when she protests naps for a week straight!

Remember how quickly time goes. 
Looking at old photos also reminds me of this. It helps me tolerate the bad days better and enjoy the good days more. I know my days with Ainsley as a baby are limited. They are, quite literally, numbered. I don't want to waste a single one. Remembering this, it's easier to get through the days of her boycotting naps AND it helps me enjoy every laugh and smile more. 

I stare at Ainsley all day. I want her darling little face engrained in my brain forever. I want to memorize her chubby little toes and the dimples on her knuckles. I want to memorize her toothy grin, her round belly, and her sweet little lips. Everything about her is just perfect. 

Have something to look forward to. 
It really helps me to plan for something fun. Right now, I'm planning to make a Halloween garland. It's really remarkable how looking forward to something, as simple as it is, increases my happiness.

Take time for yourself and to yourself.
It's really hard to do this day-to-day because of the lack of naps my little one takes, but I do this when I can. It's most often simple. I paint my toes or read or make something simple. Clint is really supportive of this, which helps so much.

Count your blessings.
Even though the last year or so has been very difficult, I really do feel so blessed. I have such a sweet, healthy little girl. My husband is so kind. I have family and friends that love me. My husband has a job. I have a college degree. I have no major health problems. And above all, I have a religion that gives me so much strength and comfort (see:

I kind of hate exercising. Fortunately, we moved to a place with wonderful weather where I can be active without the monotony of "working out." Ainsley and I go for jogs almost daily. We go to the park. We play. Being outside also increases my happiness significantly.

Listen to music. 
This helps make chores so much more enjoyable. I really enjoy upbeat music. Call me a dork (Clint does!), but oldies are some of my favorites!

Do Stuff.
It's more fun now that Ainsley is older. Now I can take her to do things that she enjoys. She LOVES being around people, especially children. She is, without a doubt, most happy when she's around other kids. Seeing her so happy makes me so happy. Plus, getting out of the house helps break up the monotonous days.

Be Present.
Sometimes this means unplugging. I try not to be on my phone much. I try to keep the TV off most of the day. Something about always being caught up in media decreases happiness for me. I've actually heard of studies done on this. I consciously try to keep myself in the moment, in the room, with my sweet baby. She brings so much joy to my life.

Stay close to God.
Whatever your religion, take time to study what's important to you. I try to study my scriptures, listen to uplifting church music, and reading other spiritual materials such as The Ensign. It helps tremendously. I firmly believe that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and that staying close to Him is just about the best way we can do that.

Realize that you don't have to do it all right now!
This is probably the second biggest thing for me, aside from staying close to my Heavenly Father. After Ainsley was born I wanted to cook, clean, be perfectly put together, study for my DTR exam, lose the baby weight, make crap, go lots of places, etc. But the thing is, I am the mother of a very energetic little girl who rarely naps. When she naps, I used to think I had to spend all that time frantically cleaning, working out, etc. I still do that, but sometimes I take a nap instead of working out. I have learned to prioritize and greatly cut-back on what I "need" to do. I still have a long list of things I want to do, but I find peace in knowing that it doesn't all have to happen now. For now, I can live with sweet potatoes on my shirt, a mountain of unfolded laundry, and a chubby tummy if it means that my family and I are happy and have our priorities in line.

When I'm happier, I'm a better mother. It's really important for me to do these things. I have a really hard time doing things for myself because I feel selfish when I do. However, doing these things doesn't just benefit me, it's better for my whole family. I can say 100% honestly that I enjoy being a mother. I don't enjoy it every second, but I wouldn't change where I'm at. I am content with my simple life.

It has taken effort, BUT...
I love my baby.
 I love my husband.
 I love being a mother. 
I love my life. 


Brooke said...

You just keep pumping these great posts out! You are awesome Alexis, thank you so much for the amazing insights. You are so refreshing!

K&R said...

yes, your baby is cute! keep up with the pictures! haha!
and while im not a mother, i definitely think that these insights could definitely be useful for anyone!


Denise said...

You're really starting to get this motherhood thing figured out! You're doing great! I still have to ignore my messy house until Kyson goes to bed. This is such a great post, so many great pointers! I'll need to keep this in mind when I have two babies to take care of. I'm about to go completely insane haha

Tara said...

This is an amazing list! I agree with everything you said. It can be hard to balance everything as a mom but taking time for myself definitely keeps me happy!